Tag:Thomas Beisner
Posted on: March 9, 2010 1:19 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:31 pm

Conference Tourney Scouting Report: Big XII

Thomas Beisner

1:00 PM

The Big XII,despite the stigma of being a football conference and sounding like a name of a movie your company won't expense, has developed into quite the powerful basketball league over the past several seasons. This year appears to be no different as they enter the post-season with the nation’s top ranked team, three other teams in the top-25 and six teams likely to go dancing. Before they take on the world, though. a little intra-conference positioning is on tap. The Phillips 66 Big XII Tournament (no event is more married to their sponsor) gets underway tomorrow and there are a number of things that the casual observer must know. Study up.


Kansas City, Missouri, hosting their ninth Phillips 66 Big XII Tournament, is known as both the “BBQ Capital of the World” and the “Paris of the Plains”. The convergence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers originally attracted settlers to the area and KCMO was officially incorporated in 1850. That also marks the last time someone thought, “Hmmm. I think Kansas City might be a nice place to live.” 
Names to Know

Sharon Collins – Collins is a delightful elderly lady who will be lingering in the bar of your hotel, sipping a 7-on-7 and working her way through three packs of Marlboro Reds. Often confused with Kansas point guard Sherron Collins, Sharon has developed some witty pick-up lines involving “ball handling” and “going to the rack”. Stay away.

Kim English – Not to be confused with Gary Parrish's Missouri man crush, natives of Kansas City know Kim English for exactly what it is – an institution of learning. Sue Ann Kim established Kim English in 2001 after relocating from Beijing and has now helped over 75 Chinese transplants gain American citizenship and master their new language.. 好!

Tiny Gallon – In basketball circles, Tiny Gallon is the freshman center for the Oklahoma Sooners. In Kansas City, though, tiny gallon has two completely different meanings. It’s most commonly (and most boringly) used a reference to anything smaller than 128 ounces. For example, you might tell the gas station attendant that their soda machine is out and he will reply, “Dammit son, just grab one of them tiny gallons in the cooler”. The less frequently used version in Kansas City is used as part of a phrase such as “Dang, did you see that tiny gallon the red dress? She must not be from ‘round here”.  This variation often does not appear in Kansas City vernacular at all, making appearances only when a large amount of visitors come to town.  Because women in Kansas City are fat.

The Contenders

Kansas – They entered the year at the top of the polls and ended the season still hugging the top spot. That’s certainly not a bad thing. In between, there were fights with the football team, DUIs, Facebook banishments and the worst free throw ever. And that’s just two players. They’re the favorites to win the national title so you have to figure they’re the favorites to win this tournament. I didn’t fact check that. I’m just assuming.

Kansas State – Just seven years removed from coaching a high school team, Frank Martin has Kansas State in national title contention thanks to the backcourt of Jacobham Lincoln and the world’s fastest basketball player/magician Denis Clemente. They dropped both games to Kansas this year but went undefeated against Baylor, Texas A&M and Texas this season. I would assume this, along with their #2 seed, makes them the second favorite.

Baylor – After slowly improving the past few years under Scott Drew and that Australian point guard, the Bears launched themselves onto the national scene this season thanks to Tweety Carter, the school’s first McDonald’s All-American, and LaceDarius Dunn, who’s name sounds like the sequel to this movie. Their road to the title likely goes through Texas, Kansas State and Kansas. They’re 2-0 against the Horns this year and 0-2 against Kansas’ finest, losing by 2 to the Wildcats and by 6 to the Jayhawks.  Again, third in your program, third in your sports book.

Wednesday’s Games

#8 Colorado vs. #9 Texas Tech – Despite protests to just have their athletic directors debate whether athletes respond better to being enticed by sex, drugs and alcohol or by being locked in a closet, these teams will play an actual basketball game. The Buffaloes enter the tournament on a three-game winning streak and the Red Raiders, despite having a guy named Mike Singletary, have showed no backbone in losing seven in a row and nine of eleven.  You sold on this one yet?  No?  Umm...there will be cheerleaders?

#5 Missouri vs. #12 Nebraska – Even The Scwab is going to sit this one out.  You should too. 

#7 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Oklahoma – There will be plenty of hatred in the Sprint Center for this one and, for once, it won’t be because Oklahoma State is fighting each other. An in-state rivalry is just the kind of first-round sexiness this tournament needs. The key for Oklahoma State will be Big XII Player of the Year James Anderson, who topped the conference with 22 points per game. On the other side, Oklahoma freshman guard Tommy Mason-Griffin was the conference leader in tattoos per square inch. I don’t think that will be as useful in this matchup. It does bear noting, though.

#6 Texas vs. #11 Iowa State – The formerly top-ranked Longhorns are now the sixth-seed in the Big XII tournament after a road loss to Kansas State sent them spiraling into a 6-8 tailspin to finish the year. However, barring a disaster, Texas will slaughter the Cyclones and you’ll hear for the 450th time about Dexter Pittman's weight loss. What they won’t tell you, though, is that his excess weight stumbled across some radioactive contamination in a sewer and formed a living organism capable of transforming into actual size Tweety Carter, Tommy Mason-Griffin and Sherron Collins body doubles. This could pave the way for a Longhorn tourney run.

Rest of the Schedule

Quarterfinals  - Thursday, March 11
No. 1 Kansas vs. CU/TTU winner  11:30 a.m.
No. 4 Texas A&M vs. MU/NU winner  2:00 p.m.
No. 2 Kansas State vs. OU/OSU winner  6:00 p.m.
No. 3 Baylor vs. ISU/UT winner  8:30 p.m.

Semifinals - Friday, March 12
Thursday afternoon winners  6:00 p.m.
Thursday evening winners  8:30 p.m.

Final - Saturday, March 13
Semifinal winners  5:00 p.m.
Posted on: March 8, 2010 11:48 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:32 pm

St. Mary's: It's Australian for 'Blowout'

Thomas Beisner

11:00 PM

On a night when superstar Omar Samhan and his C cups only went for nine points, St. Mary's got 70 points from their sextet of Australians en route to an 81-62 beatdown of the nation's #14 team and the West Coast Conference's #1 seed, Gonzaga. 

Magic Mickey McConnell doubled his season average with 26 points (and 6 assists) and Bedhead Ben Allen threw in 20 points and 9 rebounds as the pair combined to go 8-13 from downtown.  Jorden Page chipped in 11 off the bench and freshman Matthew Dellavedova added 7 points, 6 assists and one hell of a Charlie impression.  The other Australian guys contributed the other stats.

After taking only a two-point lead into the half, the Gaels came out firing like it was the Black War, outscoring the Zags 51-34 in the second period.  It was a made-for-the-big-screen run so inspiring, the only thing missing was a halftime change to the Team Australia onesies.  And the Aussie Emilio Estevez.

For Gonzaga, playing for their 10th conference tournament title under Mark Few, it was disappointment for the second time in three years and the type of emphatic beating that is going to hurt their seeding.  In case you hadn't heard, teams now have to pass an "eye" test too.  Gonzaga failed this miserably tonight.

But, on this night, it wasn't about Gonzaga.  It was all about the Gaels and all about the land down under.  Somewhere Chris Antsey and Mel Gibson are scrumming and celebrating with a Yahoo Serious movie marathon.  Somewhere else, Adam Morrison is crying alone and watching Yahoo Serious movies. 

St. Mary's is going dancing! 

St. Mary's advances to tourney by dethroning Gonzaga
Posted on: March 8, 2010 5:10 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:33 pm

WCC Final: Place Your Bets!

Thomas Beisner

5:00P PM

The West Coast Conference Tournament wraps up tonight when a couple of usual suspects battle it out in Vegas’ Orleans Arena. Gonzaga makes an appearance in the final for the thirteenth straight year and will battle St. Mary’s, a team they seem to play about 25 times a year.  More importantly, though, it’s your last night in Vegas and while I applaud you for not crashing yet, it’s time to hit it big. So, go take out that tax return and hit the sports book. These are five locks for tonight’s West Coast Final.

1. These two teams are dancing – At this point, Gonzaga is essentially a lock for the tournament every year. They’ve put together a pretty impressive non-conference schedule and their tournament spot is as guaranteed as charges after a night out with Ben Roethlisberger. St. Mary’s, on the other hand, finds itself on the “in” side of the bubble right now and, depending on some other conference tournaments, could go either way in the next six days. I’ll go out on a limb, though, and guarantee a spot for St. Mary’s. And that confidence means only one thing. This contest is more about the seed than Michelle Duggar.

2. Omar Samhan will roll an ankle – In all my years of watching college basketball (thousands of years), I’ve never seen a guy wear low-top basketball shoes (that’s what the kids call them, right?). That is, of course, until St. Mary’s star Omar Samhan. Samhan is a towering six feet-eleven inches tall and his shoes measure about three inches high, a move not heard of since people half-way started taking basketball seriously in about the 4th or 5th grade. No word yet on whether or not Samhan wore jeans to Little League practice or not.

3. “Bedhead” Ben Allen determines St. Mary’s fate – The former Indiana Hoosier has made the most of his playing time this year, which has increased from nine to twenty-seven minutes per game. When the Australian disappears from time to time on his walkabout, the Gaels suffer. In their last 13 games, St. Mary’s has won 10 games and Bedhead has averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds on 55% shooting in those wins. In their three losses (two to Gonzaga), he’s contributing only 4 and 4 on 36% shooting. Gaels fans better hope Caesar’s Palace serves Vegemite.

4. Robert Sacre has a chaperon – I won’t pretend to be extremely familiar with Gonzaga. After all, I don’t smoke weed or listen to jam bands. But, I do feel fairly confident after reading this profile in the student paper that Bulldog big man Robert “Sacretes” Sacre has been assigned a chaperon for Vegas and is to operate only under the buddy (and ankle bracelet) system. What we learned from this profile is that he only goes to Tuesday classes because the girls are hot, the louder the music, the better, he sleeps during his Christian Leadership course and is “quick sand” in a group setting. If anyone is stealing Tyson’s tigers, it’s Sacretes.

5. Mark Few will rise to the top – Just like cream (and ironically, unlike Cream), Mark Few is set to rise to the top tonight. In another Beisner guarantee, I’m promising a Zags victory, making Few the all-time winningest coach in Bulldog history. His 291st in will put him ahead of the late Hank Anderson, who took about a decade longer to reach his number. It also means that Few will cut down the WCC nets for the 8th time. And, with his alma mater boasting an open job in Eugene, it might be the last time he’ll be able to say the Slipper Still Fits.

Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s (9:00 PM)
Posted on: March 7, 2010 11:00 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:34 pm

Glenn Beck lashes out at the Patriot League

Thomas Beisner

10:30 PM

After wins over Holy Cross and American gave Lafayette and Lehigh berths in the Patriot League championship game, Fox News television personality and defender of the American dream, Glenn Beck, lashed out at the NCAA for “spitting in the face of freedom”. Beck’s anger apparently stems from the fact that the Patriot League will now be given to a team with a French name (Lafayette) or a team that he mistakenly believes to be French (Lehigh).

“What are we saying to our children when they watch Sportscenter and see American go down to some flimsy-whimsy Frenchy poo team?” Beck said as he fought back tears. “I mean, Lafayette and Lehigh for the Patriot - that’s right, Patriot - title? Just give ‘em some ex-lax and directions to Arlington National Cemetery.”

Beck’s tantrum, which took place on his television program, lasted only a few minutes and was cut short when a caller seemed to try to correct him and inform him that the schools were actually US-based institutions and only one had a French name.

“It’s a disgrace. A complete disgrace. It’s bad enough that this is happening,” a now sobbing Beck said, “But it’s even worse that the American people are accepting it and justifying it. Justifying it! Where are you 9-12ers? Where are you?”

Despite Beck’s pleas and outrage, the Patriot League’s NCAA bid will be up for grabs Friday and either top-seeded Lehigh or third-seeded Lafayette will go dancing.
Posted on: March 6, 2010 8:56 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:36 pm

ETSU wins Atlantic Sun, inspires NCAA change

Thomas Beisner

8:30 PM

The NCAA approved beverage was still flowing and the East Tennesse State Buccaneers were still celebrating their second straight Atlantic Sun championship when the NCAA’s interim president, Jim Isch, issued a statement condemning the possible expansion to 96 tournament teams and, shockingly, endorsing a retraction.

According to the statement, released only to CBS, the powerful minds at the NCAA saw the back-and-forth tussle between fifth-seeded ETSU and sixth-seeded Mercer for exactly what it was - an example how the college game can drastically differ from the NBA. And, to them, they couldn’t be more appalled.

“You know, I was sitting at home watching this game,” Irsch wrote, “and somewhere between Mercer’s bow-tied student manager stomping his feet and ETSU rushing the court in celebration, I said ‘Jim, this isn’t what college athletics is supposed to be like’. It was just too amateur.”

Under Irsch’s plan, devised during the Atlantic Sun tournament that pitted two teams with a combined 17 conference losses, the NCAA will now aim to make March Madness mirror the BCS bowl system. The top 10 teams in the country will earn a trip to the yet to be named five-game finale, with the last being a matchup between two teams determined to be the best by a group of guys who play March Madness on Xbox Live. According to Irsch, this is a fan-friendly plan that gives college basketball nuts what they want - the stars of tomorrow on their TV today.

“Every year, we sludge through this lengthy tournament full of teams that don’t have draft picks and that can‘t move jersey sales. Why? It’s just crazy. I mean, under this wacky system, East Tennessee State actually has a chance to win the national title,” Irsch said. “Are you kidding me? Those guys couldn’t cut it in the NBDL. It‘s really absurd.”

For now, though, the system remains the same, meaning East Tennessee State and coach Murray Bartow have a chance at the national title for the second straight year after winning the Atlantic Sun title.  And, as they proved in Macon, anything is possible.
Posted on: March 6, 2010 10:57 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:38 pm

West Coastin'

Thomas Beisner

11:00 AM

In the past 11 years, Gonzaga has claimed the West Coast Conference Tournament title in impressive nine times.  It started with Dan Monson on the sidelines and Matt Santangelo leading the charge and has given the world names like Dan Dickau, Casey Calvary, Ronny Turiaf, Adam Morrison, Derek Raivio and last year's MVP, Micah Downs.  So, you can't blame if-it-happened-before-the-internet-
then-it-didn't-happen-at-all America if Gonzaga is the West Coast Conference to them.  That's pretty much all they've ever known.

However, this year could change that.

The most obvious challenger to the Gonzaga dynasty is a familiar one.  Behind Patrick Mills, St. Mary's made a national name for themselves the past two seasons, flirting with the top-25 and, at one time, owning the nation's longest winning streak.  With Mills gone, the nation was ready to turn their eyes to the next mid-major darling.  But, believe it or not, it's possible this team is even better - and more balanced with five players averaging double figures. 

Big man Omar Samhan is a double-double machine (18this year), averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds per game and went off for 31 and 12 against the Zags earlier in the year.  It's the balanced perimeter attack, though, that allows Samhan to do work down low.  Thanks to junior Mickey McConnell (13 ppg and 5 apg), senior Wayne Hunter (11 ppg) and Autstralian freshman Matthew Dellavedova (13 ppg and 5 apg), St. Mary's boasts what some consider the most potent perimeter attack in the WCC.  A run to the finals should land them in the Big Dance, but if they want to win the WCC and make it a guarantee, they are going to need their three guards to play well and open up the paint for Samhan.

But, despite the obvious appeal of St. Mary's as Gonzaga's big threat, it might not be the most serious.  The third seed in the WCC tournament, Portland is a team that gave the Zags a run for their money in Portland on January 9th, finally falling 81-78.  But, less than a month later, they took a trip to Spokane and went down hard, 76-49, and leaving folks to wonder if they were actually a legitimate threat to the Zags.  Of their four conference losses, three were to the Zags and St. Mary's, leaving them as the only team that can claim to be a contender with a straight face - if they show up.

If the Pilots are to end the Zags' WCC title hopes in the finals, it will have to do so without a face that's familiar to the Zags.  Portland's leading scorer, senior guard Nik Raivio (14 ppg and 6 rpg), is the brother of 2007 WCC Tournament MVP and former Gonzaga Bulldog Derek Raivio, and will miss the entire tournament with an achilles injury that has sidelined him the second half of the season.  In his place, the Pilots will use the balance (that seems to be a theme in the WCC) of guards TJ Campbell (13 ppg) and Jared Stohl (12 ppg) and big men Robin Smeulders (13 ppg and 7 rpg) and Son of Sikma (8 ppg and 8 rpg) inside.  With no shot of an at-large bid, Portland needs to hopefully avoid feeling pressure and get back to the nothing to lose attitude they had in a pre-season run of wins over Oregon, UCLA and Minnesota.

Having said all this, make no mistake.  Gonzaga is the favorite in this tournament.  The Zags again won the regular season crown, but dropped road games to a pair of 7-7 WCC teams, San Francisco and Loyola Marymount, inspiring post-season hope in their conference peers.  Much like the Mark Few teams of the past, the Zags count on balance, relying on Matt Bouldin (16 ppg) and Steven Gray (13.5 ppg) on the perimeter and the duo of 7-foot sophomore Robert Sacre (10 and 5) and German freshman Elias Harris (15 and 7).  They've been down this road before and the smart money would be on them throwing the "W" up in Vegas after Monday's title game. 

Even if the Zags do take the WCC crown this weekend, the "others" in the conference can still claim victory.  The whole world might not be watching their games in the middle of the night, but it's probably more than the Pac-10.  And there's nothing mid-major about that.

Mark Few's battle rap

I got an interesting email this morning from a reader who said that Mark Few is so hurt by his conference not getting the respect it deserves, has resorted to his West Coast roots and released a battle rap.  Few enlisted West Coast rappers NWA and internet star Daniel Solzman to help him write his diss track.  What resulted is arguably one of the most horrible raps in the history of the world.....but it's set to NWA's "F--- the Police", so it's not all bad.

F*** tha Pac-10
Comin straight from the Evergreen
Hatin’ on my program cuz it’s clean.
Your sorry conference is more whack than a pager
Still you b****es call the West Coast a mid-major.

Screw that crap, cuz I ain’t tha one
To let a couple washed up retread coaches poke fun.
Tradition and talent? Really? B***h, please.
Even at UCLA, the only guarantee is the herpes.

Battling each other for a number 12 seed,
While Gonzaga and St. Mary’s spots are guaranteed.
Third seed Portland would hand you a killing.
Even the Pac-10 gives the women top billing

The West Coast’s repping dudes like Matt Bouldin,
Pac-10’s just hoping to avoid NCAA scolding.
Don’t forget about Samhan,
St. Mary’s center is the west’s best big man.
Freakin’ dudes everyway like MJ
Wrong song but you get the point anyway.

It’s about time we got our respect
Step to Mark Few and your face will get wrecked.
The West Coast Conference tourney starts tonight under lights
In Vegas making news like Tyson’s title fights
Up and coming conference on a warpath
And when we finish, there’ll be a blood bath.

Yo NCAA, I got somethin to say

F** tha Pac-10! 

Conference Scedule:

Friday, March 5  

#5 Loyola Marymount vs. #8 Pepperdine - In the first WCC Tournament game, fans were treated to a high-scoring affair as Loyola Marymount ruined Pepperdine's second round hopes and outlasted the 43 combined points of Keion Bell and Taylor Darby.  Four Lions scored in double figures, with Vernon Teel leading the way with 27.  They will now take on the Fighting Bill Russells of San Francisco on Saturday as long as Doug Christie's wife gives them permission. 

#6 San Diego vs. #7 Santa Clara - Friday's nightcap offered the sexiest Vegas show since Siegfried and Roy performed at Peep Show as a pair of teams that went 3-11 in their conference squared off.  San Diego earned the right to lose to Portland on Saturday, 61-59, behind 14 points, 12 rebounds and 7 blocks from Robert Mafra.  After the game, Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating declared that "Steve Nash is not walking through that door," adding that, "Even if he did, it would only be to ask for us to take his jersey out of the rafters.  You guys suck."

Saturday, March 6

#5 Loyola Marymount vs. #4 San Francisco 

#6 San Diego vs.  #3 Portland

Sunday, March 7

LMU/USF vs. Gonzaga

Portland/USD vs St. Mary's

Monday, March 8


Posted on: March 5, 2010 12:33 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:40 pm

The Atlantic Sun: Someone has to win, right?

Thomas Beisner

1:00 AM

When the Atlantic Sun tournament kicked off Wednesday at the ratings-driven time of 2:30 in the afternoon, the competition for the league's NCAA bid was as up for grabs as any in the nation , with the top four seeds all entering the tournament with the same 14-6 conference record. But, after one round, only one of those four teams (Jacksonville) remain in contention for an NCAA berth and the #5, 6 and 8 seeds are only two games away from going dancing.

The madness (think you’ll hear that word much?) started in the first game Monday when the eighth-seeded Kennesaw State Owls knocked off the top-seeded Lipscomb Bisons behind 9-11 three-point shooting from Kurtis Woods and Kevin McConnell. After sitting out of the Atlantic Sun tournament for three years as a part of their agreement to move up to Division I, it was a sweet reward for the Owls in Macon.

Wednesday’s night session offered a bit of a return to status quo as second-seeded Jacksonville and seventh-seeded North Florida squared off and made people wonder how Jacksonville can support two Atlantic Sun teams and struggle to support an NFL squad. Just four years removed from winning only one game, the Dolphins (that’s Jacksonville) benefited from the inside-outside combo of Ben Smith and Lehmon Colbert, who both went for 24 points in the beating of the Ospreys. It should be noted that this game matched the least intimidating mascots since former Kentucky player Donald Williams’ high school played anyone. Anyone.

On Thursday, the reigning Atlantic Sun tournament champions, East Tennessee State, got their (minor) upset on and knocked off another one of the 14-6 teams, Campbell, 72-64. The details of the game are foggier than Snoop Dogg’s tour bus, though, as the A-Sun site reports 32 points from junior guard Micah Williams sparked the comeback and ESPN says he didn’t play in the game. What is known, however, is that the Bucs are now virtually a lock to defend their title in the championship game. They’ve blown out Kennesaw State both times they’ve played this year. And there are no upsets in the Atlantic Sun.

If there is such a thing as a dominant force and a sure thing in the Atlantic Sun, the Belmont Bruins just might be it. The private Nashville school that plays on an anatomically correct basketball court won three straight conference tournaments before falling to ETSU in the semifinals last year and was one of those four teams tied for the top conference spot. But, just like their fellow first-place surnamed religious institutions, the Bruins’ NCAA hopes came crashing down in the first round of the Atlantic Sun tournament. Belmont, winners of 8 of 9 games, drew the home team, the Mercer Bears, and their formidable 14-16 record. And, on this night, just like in the English language, the Bears proved have more staying power than the Bruins.

So, what was considered to be a wide-open tournament to start because of the four-way tie at the top, now shapes up as a the most wildly unknown tournament thanks to some upsets. Jacksonville, based on seeding, remains as the favorite. ETSU, however, is now on a five-game winning streak that saw them beat the Dolphins (that’s Jacksonville) on the road last week. But, don’t count out the Mercer Bears and their home court advantage, who now hold my rooting interest for one reason only. Should they win, there is a possibility they could not accept the NCAA bid once the Baptist school finds out that it’s considered dancing.

Atlantic Sun basketball….I love this game!

What’s Up Next

#8 Kennesaw State vs. #5 East Tennessee State (6:30 pm)
#6 Mercer vs. #2 Jacksonville (9:00 pm)

Drama! (6:00 pm)
Posted on: February 27, 2010 9:11 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:44 pm

Tell your bladder to relax....

Thomas Beisner

9:00 PM

....we're headed to overtime!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com